Scottdale begins to hang smoke-free signs
The Scottdale Parks Commission passed a resolution in the spring to make all parks in the borough smoke-free as a part of the “Young Lungs at Play” program.
The program, offered through Penn State Extension, helps municipalities become cleaner and healthier by supplying signs and information, which is posted in parks and other public areas.
The borough is in the process of hanging the 45 signs it acquired from Penn State Extension, and will add more, if needed, in the future.
“They (Penn State) supply them to us at no cost, which is great,” Scottdale Parks Commission Chairwoman Colleen Kenney said.
”We passed a resolution to have the signs put in all seven of our parks to make them tobacco-free.”
The parks include Gazebo, Loucks, Garfield, Kendi, Barkley, South Pittsburgh Street and South Chestnut Street.
“That is tobacco-free, not just cigarettes,” she said.
The commission received the signs from Penn State Extension and can get as many as it needs to place in the areas it wants to designate as tobacco-free zones.
“The resolution was passed, and that also includes borough property, not just the parks,” Scottdale Borough Manager Angelo Pallone said.
The borough was awarded a certificate of appreciation by the state Department of Health for its participation in the program.
“We want to try to educate our youth on the negative effects of tobacco,” Kenney said. “I feel it's important to the community and to the youth of the community.”
Esther Ulery, a tobacco secession and prevention specialist with Penn State Extension, said the program is growing as more towns and boroughs start to hang the signs in hopes of deterring smokers and smokeless tobacco users from lighting up in public parks and community areas.
“Tobacco causes harm to everyone,” Ulery said, adding that secondhand smoke is harmful to those it affects. “If you smell it, then you have inhaled it. Children should not be exposed to that.”
Ulery said Scottdale has joined the other 25 municipalities in Westmoreland County that have taken on the initiative.
“Smokers are good people, and we understand that it is very difficult to stop smoking,” Ulery said. But, Ulery said, others should not be affected someone else's choices.
There is not an ordinance against public smoking that can be enforced in the borough, but the signs will hopefully act as a message to those who are thinking of using their tobacco products in the parks or on borough property, officials said.
“These signs will now give people the right to say something,” Ulery said. “People may be reluctant to say something, but now they can point to one of the signs. They don't even need to say anything.”
“This is something that we want to do for the community at large,” Kenney said. “We want to keep our children healthy. That is important to us.”
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.